Crowds. No one wants to be stuck in one. But come summertime, it’s hard to find a quiet place in nature. In the month of August it seems like everyone in Israel is out visiting the country’s most beautiful places.
Head to many of the Israel’s national parks, and you’ll be greeted by hordes of summer travelers looking for a nice day out in nature. Any place that has a waterfall, a stream, or a spring is sure to be crowded on a sunny August day.
So how do you take advantage of Israel’s natural world in the month of August? You could stay away from National Parks altogether. But that would be a shame, because there are some National Parks in Israel that remain off the beaten track and free from crowds even in August.
Grab your National Parks pass and head on over to these six quieter National Parks in Israel:
Nebi Samuel National Park
This was a recent discovery for my family. Right near Jerusalem, the Nebi Samuel National Park houses the tomb of the prophet Samuel. But it’s also home to so much more.
At Nebi Samuel National Park, there are layers upon layers of history to explore. And despite the fact that there’s not much shade at the park, the area stays cool and breezy thanks to location on top of a hill. At the park, there’s also a freshwater spring inside a cool tunnel that’s fun to explore.
At Nebi Samuel, you can take in spectacular views of Jerusalem from atop an old mosque. You can walk through a Second Temple City and into a Crusader fortress. There is so much to see in this easy to cover area.
Not only that, but with its proximity to Jerusalem, this National Park is ideal for a local family outing.
Read the full hike post with trail maps right here. Make sure to reserve online before you go.
Khan Sha’ar Hagai
Near Beit Shemesh, the Parks Authority has opened a new museum at Sha’ar Hagai, otherwise known as Bab El Wad. This entranceway to Jerusalem was the site of many battles during the War of Independence. As Jews attempted to pass through with supplies for Jerusalem, enemies would attack them from the surrounding hills. Because of this, Jerusalemites were put on strict rations, and a new plan was hatched to restock their dwindling supplies.
At the museum (built inside an old khan or waystation), you can hear the fascinating story of this important place and time in history. Khan Sha’ar Hagai is an interactivte museum, full of cool exhibits and relics from the past.
The audio tour is usually in Hebrew, but you can call to arrange an English viewing.
Make sure to reserve your spot online in advance.
Does August time mean swimming time for your family? Check out the relatively new National Park site at Ein Hania, right on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Ein Hania is an ancient site of aqueducts and structures that surrounds a cool spring. At the National Park, you can swim in two large pools, or climb through an underground tunnel filled with water.
Since the site was recently revamped, it remains relatively quiet, especially if you head on over first thing in the morning. Not only that, but it’s just a few minutes’ drive from Jerusalem.
Up North and looking for something a little different? Try Yehiam Fortress National Park, located in the Galilee. This cool fortress is both beautiful and fun to climb through. You can watch the short film which tells about the battle fought by the Israelis during the war of Independence and the thriving Yishuv which surrounds the National Park today.
The fortress was first built by Teutonic Knights in the 13th century, but it changed hands many times over the years. It’s fun to explore the different layers of history inside the cool shadows of the fortress. And there are plenty of shady hiking trails right nearby too!
I love to tell everyone I know about the Ein Prat Nature Reserve – a beautiful desert oasis located only 30 minutes from Jerusalem. But there’s a part of the reserve that is even less well-known – at Ein Mabua, the Maboa spring.
This unique spring is called a rhythmic spring – it empties and fills at regular intervals throughout the course of a morning. There are only about 100 springs of this type in the world.
It’s fun to sit on the side of the Ein Mabua pool to watch it slowly empty, then fill suddenly. This is the perfect time to hop into the water for a swim. Nearby, there’s a wet hiking trail that leads back to the more populated side at Ein Prat.
What’s the best combination for summertime at a National Park? What about an ancient fortress and a beautiful coastline.
Apollonia Nation Park has it all. This seaside beauty has pathways that weave through an ancient fortress and other antiquities. It’s the perfect place to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the cooling sea breeze will enhance your summer outing.
Make sure to pack a picnic and seek out a quiet, seaside cliff for some peaceful time in nature. After your trip to Apollonia, you can hit the beach right nearby.
The Best of Israel’s National Parks this Summer
This summer, the name of the game is finding off the beaten track gems. In Israel this August, you can take advantage of the best of Israel’s beauty, history, and wildlife in the organized accessible style that National Parks are known for. Use summertime to visit these wonderful National Parks in Israel that you may have passed up at another time of year.